Haight Theatre

1702 Haight Street,
San Francisco, CA 94117

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Haight Theatre exterior

Opened in 1937, the Haight Theatre was located in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco at the corner of Haight Street and Cole Street. A Goodwill store now operates from the building which was built on the site.

Contributed by William Gabel, Juan-Miguel Gallegos

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

robertgippy on January 10, 2007 at 7:25 am

My dear departed friend Jack Reynolds, managed the Haight Theatre in the early 60’s. The interior of the theatre was very similar to the Uptown. As a ex flower child of peace, love and not war, I remember when the Haight became the Straight. The vertical marquee was painted with flowers and “delic” 60s colors at the time. The main floor seats were removed, and we would go in there for the best rock concerts ever. We went in there once to see a movie and were given a blanket to lie on the floor with. The pot smell was everywhere, free love in the balcony, who could ask for more? Later it was a church and sadly shuttered for good. My favorite memory there was going in stoned, and saw Phil Spector hanging with Margo St. James of the famous Coyote. A buddy of mine and I spoke with them. We just discussed the Straight a few minutes ago, and a buddy said “kids now days don’t know what they’re missing”. The Haight, along with Winterland, are now San Francisco pasts, but lives long in our memories.

Scott on February 13, 2008 at 10:08 am

Thanks, robertgippy, for that uplifting story. If only there was a theatre in my town today where my kids could go to get stoned and have “free” love in the balcony. I think you’ve captured what American cinema should aspire to.

Dramatrauma on July 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Well, both those things (maybe less getting stoned if were talking pre 1950s) have been happening in the back rows of Cinemas for any number of decades.

TLSLOEWS on March 5, 2010 at 9:06 am

Very true Dramatrama.I could tell you some stories from my theatre days.Saw a lot of stuff.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2010 at 2:18 am

The Haight Theatre is listed among works attributed to architect Otto A. Deichmann in the 1956 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory.

As the Haight was built in 1937 I would assume that Deichmann’s partner of that period, Mark T. Jorgensen, was also involved in the project. I’ve been unable to find a listing for Jorgensen in the AIA’s online historical directory. It’s possible he was not a member of the organization.

bicyclereporter on December 24, 2010 at 3:10 pm

The Grateful Dead played here on July 23, Sept 29/30 1967

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm

According to Variety, an attempt to run the Haight as an arthouse catering to gay audiences in 1964 met with community outrage and police harrasment. The experiment lasted less than a month.

terrygalli on May 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm

wow what a trip to find this. I grew up in the haight from 1962 to 89 . my father started the protest against the gay theater I remember making signs in our basement and carrying them in front of the haight. I was there the last day it was a real theater.it had been renovated and it was the first day of the grand reopening and when the movie was over some kid through an apple through the screen and all of the sudden all the kids went crazy and tore the place up. I also smoked my first joint with janis joplin there when I was just eleven years old she said here you go little dude. how could I say no to her.before they tore it down me and my brothers snuck in through the roof and we took old light fixtures and I had the carpet from the lobby in my bedroom for years and the chandelier from the girls bathroom. many many memories there it was awesome. for a quarter I saw sword in the stone three times in one day.

bicyclereporter on May 5, 2012 at 11:05 am

do you still have the fixtures or pics?

sfinthe80s on November 14, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I used to live around the corner from this theater. I had moved to the Haight in the early 80’s and by the time I moved into my first floor apt on the corner of Cole and Oak, the theater had already been demolished. For years it sat as an empty lot, partitioned off by chain-link fence and plywood, and I was blissfully unaware what had previously occupied that space. Its just as well since being a cinema major, I would have been grieving at the loss of such a beautiful theater and probably would have held vigil there everyday on my way back from class.

The Haight in the 80’s was not exactly a mecca for movie screens. Yes, there was the Red Vic, but quite honestly, it sucked. I had no idea of what the inside of the Haight looked like, but it probably would have made a great repertory theater. Sad loss. The next to fall after that was of course the I-Beam.

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